Meet Zeina

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a 19 year old med student. When did you start your account? Late march 2019. Why were you inspired to start an account? I stumbled upon catcalls of nyc and thought how great the initiative was and how we desperately need this in Cairo. When I searched for catcallsofcairo and didn’t find it I created the account immediately. Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness? Catcalling might be the least violent form of sexual harassment but it’s still traumatic and deserves some attention. Victims of street harassment need to know that their fear is valid and that they’re not alone. Why do you think ending street harassment is important? We deserve to walk the streets in peace, without feeling objectified or sexualized; it’s not too much to ask for. What’s your favorite thing about your city? Ironically, there’s a weird sense of coziness, warmth and family. How can your city better address street harassment? The media is our best option. Cairo’s problem is that catcalling isn’t even seen as an issue worth talking about. Some people think it’s not scary or that it’s trivial compared to some of our ‘bigger problems’. Male celebrities are often asked if they’ve ever catcalled a woman (as a joke) on interviews. What do you hope is the outcome of your account? I need men to understand that we don’t owe them anything. I dream of a day where I won’t need to constantly fight for my right to exist. What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced? I was catcalled in my own university. What he said was pretty basic but the fact that I can’t feel safe there was pretty horrible. What does being a part of this campaign mean to you? I’m very grateful for the safe space it’s creating, how it’s become easier for so many girls to open up and share their stories. It also feels great to finally take action even if it’s on a small scale. Changing the way some people see street harassment is still a huge accomplishment.

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